UAE residents would throw their support behind Dubai should the emirate make a dash for gold and bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Last month the UAE’s National Olympic Committee said it was ready to bid for the Games - as soon as the Dubai government gives the go-ahead. And sports fans in the Emirates and across the region would be there on the start line to cheer on the bid team.
Pollsters YouGov surveyed people across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for their thoughts on the Games coming to Dubai. Of the 2,061 people quizzed, 72 per cent said they would welcome a Dubai bid, rising to 75 per cent among respondents from the UAE.
Seventy-eight per cent of those polled said they think Dubai has the infrastructure necessary to host the Olympics. Sundip Chahal, regional CEO of YouGov, admitted the firm was “surprised at how much the Middle East is behind this”.
“There seems a real strength of feeling that it would be an ‘Arab Games’,” he told 7DAYS. Searing summer temperatures would provide an obvious obstacle to the UAE winning the bid to host the extravaganza but Chahal added: “Anything is possible in Dubai - it’s Dubai.” UAE residents polled in the YouGov survey felt an Olympic Games in Dubai would have to be moved to a cooler time of year. Dubai-based fitness expert Tom Woolf insists making marathon runners or dressage horses compete in sizzling temperatures wouldn’t be safe but added that a successful bid would “change the face of sport in the UAE”.
He said: “Funding for sport here would increase dramatically. Dubai 2024 would be an incredible incentive for an eight, 10 or 12-year-old to take up a sport and pitch for a podium place.”
7DAYS readers were split on whether Dubai should bid for the Olympics. James Magee posted on the 7DAYSUAE facebook page: “As an event organiser who has been launching major events in Dubai since 1986, I say that if the right team is in place we absolutely can do it.” Sun Chiu added: “Bring it on”.
However, not all were convinced. Asghar Khan posted: “It’s not possible, even in 2050.” Cities that have expressed an interest in hosting the 2024 Games include Durban (South Africa), Casablanca (Morocco), Paris (France) and Doha (Qatar).